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BCM Health Checks
Facts the media didn't tell
Sydney CBD Blackouts
Swine Flu Update
BC Events 2009
BC Benchmarking

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Do you know the stae of health of your Crisis Management, Business Continuity or IT Disaster Recovery plan(s)? 

Maybe it's time to have one conducted by one of our experienced consultants?  
Whether it's a review of your existing plan documentation, assessment of your recovery site arrangements, or a workshop to determine your continuity requirements, we can provide a professional assessment of your current situation, recovery readiness and remediation plan.

Contact us on  1300-BCPLAN or by email to info@opscentre.com for more details on this offer.

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Here's the facts the media didn't tell you about power failures and pandemics..


Well April was a swine of a month, don't you think ? (excuse the pun).  Starting out with multiple power outages in the Sydney CBD, progressing to a global Swine Flu outbreak, business continuity discussions hit executive team agendas faster than they could shout "turn the power back on, there's a pandemic on its way!!", and was accompanied by sudden interest in continuity plan development and testing.

I hope you weren't affected?  We heard of several companies that had their own, and customer, business functions impacted.  

Case studies are creating some very interesting reading.  IT teams fumbling in dark data centres randomly shutting down computer systems before 1-hour standby battery systems were due to fail, contact centre staff bombarded with dozens of voicemail messages on their mobile phones, people climbing out of the top of lifts after being trapped for hours, and general chaos and confusion around the clarity of roles and responsibilities during an outage, and communications strategies (by the way, have you thought about who you'd call first?).

Some of those organisations affected invoked components of their continuity plans, those without one were less fortunate.  We heard that one services company lost its longest-standing client, which valued at tens of thousands of dollars in revenu a month.  Others used crisis communications plans and failover procedures to inform customers they were relocating to their backup site and that "for us, its business as usual".

We'll continue to collect stories and case studies and will include them in future editions of this newsletter as well as on our website.  If you have a story of your own, good or bad, I'd love to hear from you.

And if you're concerned about recent events, in this edition you'll find a couple of checklists below to arm you with valubale questions to determine the health of your continuity plan and related infrastructure.

Enjoy this edition; here's hoping for an incident-free month of May.

Warm regards

Rod Crowder
Ph: 1300-BCPLAN / +612 8251 0080
Mb: 0412 337 677
Power Lines - photo courtesy of ABC Power Blackouts expected to continue until 2012.

The work required to resolve the problems in the Sydney CBD power grid will cost NSW Tax payers $18Bn and will not be completed until 2012, even if it started immediately, an ABC news report highlighted last week.

In the meantime, Sydney's residents, businesses and government agencies are advised to be prepared for more power disruptions. 

Are you ready to respond?

Here are the basic questions to ask to determine your state of recovery readiness:
  • Does our building have a backup generator?  If so, has it recently been tested, and which building facilities (lifts, lights, air conditioning, security systems) are connected to it? Is our building fed via diverse power feeds to the sub-stations/zones?  Is this an option?
  • Is the power group supplying our building designed to cater for outages in its ability to re-route supply within the group to avoid the affected section?
  • Does everyone know and understand our building evacuation procedure and where to assemble?  Where are our fire escape stairwells?  How do we account for everyone once they've left the building?
  • If we are forced to leave the building, who diverts critical inbound phone lines, and where to?  Are pre-recorded messages in place to keep customers informed?
  • What is our crisis communication plan and our priorities for communicating with staff, customers and other stakeholders?  What should be said? Who has authority to talk to the media?
  • What is the state of our business continuity and IT Disaster Recovery plans?  Are they up-to-date? When were they last tested?  Do they reflect our current business model and processes?  Is everyone trained in their use?
For more details on how to determine your current state of preparedness, see: Recovery Readiness Assessment.

For the full ABC News article referred to above, click here.

________________________________________________________ ::
Swine Flu - photo courtesy AFP
Swine Flu expected to reach Pandemic status. 8500 people affects in 39 countries, 72 dead.  Japan reports 121 cases in less than a week.

The swine flu outbreak continues to spread throughout the world with the most disturbing news of the dramatic increase in cases reported in Japan, up from 4 to 121 in less than one week.

Business continuity plans that already include a "loss of staff" scenario will have many elements of a pandemic response plan, but the specific considerations for this type of incident are :
  • What are the minimum staffing levels and critical business processes that we must maintain ?
  • Have we developed and implemented adequate response procedures?
  • Do we have stocks of emergency supplies, necessary 'telecommuting' infrastructure to enable staff to work remotely, and supplies of IT equipment that may require rapid-deployment?
  • How do we introduce containment and social distancing strategies within the business?
  • What is our plan for responding to staff fear and anxiety
  • Are we prepared for suspected influzena cases in the workplace; how would we deal with them?
Here are some useful links to help you in your Pandemic Flu Continuity Planning:
2009 Summits and Conferences

There have been a number of business continuity-related summit and conference announcements over the last few weeks.  Here are links to a few of them.

4th Annual Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery Forum
Location: Swissotel Sydney, 15-16 June
Click here for the Forum brochure

Critical Infrastructure Protection and Security Forum
Location: Swissotel Sydney, 11-12 June
Click here for the Forum brochure

Continuity Forum - Crisis Management
Location: Melbourne, 30 June
Click here for more details

Business Continuity Expo
Location: Sydney, 29 September
Brochure currently under development

Best Practice in Business Continuity Conference
Location: Wellington, New Zealand, 24 November
Brochure currently under development

Emergency Management Australia (EMA)

EMA have a full schedule of government-related continuity, security and infrastructure protection seminars, forums and conferences listed on their website for the 2009 year.

Location: Various
Click here to visit their site
BC Benchmark Survey 2009

The joint Continuity Forum-Business Continuity Institute Benchmarking Survey is now online.

If you complete the Survey before the end of May 2009 you will obtain the complete Report.

For access to the survey, click here
Training Courses and Workshops in conjunction with Continuity Forum
  • Training Course - Introduction to IT Disaster Recovery (full day)
  • Workshop - Testing IT DIsaster Recovery Plans (full day)
  • NEW!! Training Course - IT Disaster Recovery Technology Primer (half day)
  • NEW!! Training Course - Advanced IT Disaster Recovery Planning (half day)
  • All of the above courses and workshops are being held in conjunction with Continuity Forum; venues, course dates and brochures are available here

    For more information or to register your interest in any of the above courses and workshops, please email us here


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